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So, I saw that part of the requirement of applying for French citizenship (after 5 years of residency), is proof that you have integrated into the community.
I assume a large part of this is proving your proficiency in French to the B1 level but what about the rest? French history & culture? Are the requirements all general or do you have to prove in some way that you are active and have integrated into the community you live in?
 

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You'll have an interview and you'll be asked questions about French history, politics, geography and culture. It depends on the person doing the interview how extensive that questioning is, but there's a booklet you can download that has all the stuff you're expected to know in. You'll also be asked about your friends and life, if your social circle is mostly French people and if you're active in any local societies or clubs etc.

That said I've always heard that it's pretty difficult to fail on the above criteria, and that it's far more a question of if you have a job in France that seems stable and that is bringing in a decent level of pay. That's something that people absolutely get rejected for not having. For the rest I'd guess if you turned up at the interview and in really bad French gave the impression you knew nothing and didn't care you'd have trouble, but if you speak OK and answer as best you can (demonstrating that you've read and taken in the obvious stuff) then I would guess the odd not perfect response is fine.

(I got Nationality this summer, my interview was fine but I think I had a pretty lax / easy going interviewer.)
 

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You'll have an interview and you'll be asked questions about French history, politics, geography and culture. It depends on the person doing the interview how extensive that questioning is, but there's a booklet you can download that has all the stuff you're expected to know in. You'll also be asked about your friends and life, if your social circle is mostly French people and if you're active in any local societies or clubs etc.

That said I've always heard that it's pretty difficult to fail on the above criteria, and that it's far more a question of if you have a job in France that seems stable and that is bringing in a decent level of pay. That's something that people absolutely get rejected for not having. For the rest I'd guess if you turned up at the interview and in really bad French gave the impression you knew nothing and didn't care you'd have trouble, but if you speak OK and answer as best you can (demonstrating that you've read and taken in the obvious stuff) then I would guess the odd not perfect response is fine.

(I got Nationality this summer, my interview was fine but I think I had a pretty lax / easy going interviewer.)
This has reminded me of controversy a couple of years ago about the UK citizenship test being considered too difficult, asking fairly obscure stuff the average Brit wouldn't know. I think I've got decent general knowledge, tried a sample test, failed every time! For amusement, here's a link to a site providing sample questions. I tried again and failed again 😄

 

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Although there has been talk about a "citizenship test" for years now, I don't believe they have actually instituted one (yet). Probably because when they test out the questions on the native born, most can't answer them. <g> (And France is far from the only country that finds itself in that situation.)

The language requirement for citizenship is a separate requirement. The "integration" thing is best responded to by being able to produce your avis d'imposition for the last 5 years to show that you are properly registered with the tax (and cotisation) authorities and so are properly "integrated" into the system primarily by having paid your cotisations (or at least having your Sécu registrations up to date). They may or may not get into what activities you're involved in. Ideally, if you can do your "interview" all in French they may just chat with you about current events or such to determine that you are aware of what's happening in France. But like so many things, the precise procedure can vary from one prefecture to the next.
 

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Although there has been talk about a "citizenship test" for years now, I don't believe they have actually instituted one (yet). Probably because when they test out the questions on the native born, most can't answer them. <g> (And France is far from the only country that finds itself in that situation.)

The language requirement for citizenship is a separate requirement. The "integration" thing is best responded to by being able to produce your avis d'imposition for the last 5 years to show that you are properly registered with the tax (and cotisation) authorities and so are properly "integrated" into the system primarily by having paid your cotisations (or at least having your Sécu registrations up to date). They may or may not get into what activities you're involved in. Ideally, if you can do your "interview" all in French they may just chat with you about current events or such to determine that you are aware of what's happening in France. But like so many things, the precise procedure can vary from one prefecture to the next.
The US citizenship test is quite intimidating as well, I reckon that 95% of American native born citizens would fail it and I actually tested this by asking my work colleagues to answer as many of the 100 sample questions as they could; they all failed to get a passing grade. Some late night talk show host - probably Johnny Carson - suggested that everyone in America should take the test and those who failed get deported :)
 

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This has reminded me of controversy a couple of years ago about the UK citizenship test being considered too difficult, asking fairly obscure stuff the average Brit wouldn't know. I think I've got decent general knowledge, tried a sample test, failed every time! For amusement, here's a link to a site providing sample questions. I tried again and failed again 😄

I became a British citizen in 2013 and took that test. As I remember then most all the questions and answers were online to study. It wasn't too difficult to pass.
 

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You'll have an interview and you'll be asked questions about French history, politics, geography and culture. It depends on the person doing the interview how extensive that questioning is, but there's a booklet you can download that has all the stuff you're expected to know in.
Would you happen to have a link to that booklet? I'd like to have a look to see if I know as much as I think I do or whether I need to start studying. I have a few more years, but it's always best to be prepared.

I have always wondered about the 'integration' thing. I have a British friend who lives in the same village. She's been here for 15 years, has a shop in the village, lots of French friends, knows everyone's names. She used to be on the village council but had to leave after Brexit. Her French is certainly above the level required (although she could do some work on her accent).

I've had my house for nearly as long but have only been here full-time since 2018. I'm friendly with my neighbours, and have as many French friends as I do British ones, which is to say not many. But I've never been the type to have lots of friends in any of the many places I've lived and I've never been good with people's names.

However, I read French newspapers, watch only French television, and listen only to French music. I've never had a problem communicating in French - I've successfully challenged the local tax office twice - and I have a much better accent than she does.

I think we've both integrated in our own way, but it will be interesting to know which form of 'integration' the French 'state' considers necessary in order to be awarded French citizenship. Perhaps both?
 

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I think we've both integrated in our own way, but it will be interesting to know which form of 'integration' the French 'state' considers necessary in order to be awarded French citizenship. Perhaps both?
Or more likely, simply by having paid your taxes and having the avis or receipts to prove it. Seriously, in any number of cases I'm familiar with, the cotisations count more than almost anything else.
 

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With regards to the concept of demonstrating how well you've integrated, what social activities you've joined etc, it would seem to discriminate somewhat against the neurodivergent who might find such undertakings problematic.
 

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With regards to the concept of demonstrating how well you've integrated, what social activities you've joined etc, it would seem to discriminate somewhat against the neurodivergent who might find such undertakings problematic.
There are special arrangements for the handicapped, though you need to have a diagnosis.
 
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I applied for UK nationality back in '75 when there was no test. I tried the test linked to above and got 5 questions wrong. I suspect that was a fail. I wouldn't have a hope in Hell passing a French one. Even after 20 years here my language is hopeless. Integration? Haven't a clue beyond the pleasantries at a supermarket checkout. I live in deep rural France and don't have near neighbours. If something breaks I fix it. If I can't fix it I do without. I get world news from LBC radio and local news, such as it is from Expat forums.

I do fully understand that life could be much better if I had the language and more interaction with other people. My situation would also be very different if I had the resources to pay others to do my renovation giving me time to take lessons and become part of some local "network". It is very different here than it was in England. I formed close caring relationships with people there but in France where they are more "Family" focussed an outsider only gets so far into the circle.
 

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Would you happen to have a link to that booklet?
Here it is. I really wouldn't worry about integration beyond passing the language requirements, having a demonstrable income in France and being prepared to answers questions on this.

 

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Or more likely, simply by having paid your taxes and having the avis or receipts to prove it. Seriously, in any number of cases I'm familiar with, the cotisations count more than almost anything else.
As I'm retired I don't have any cotisations. And as my income is mainly from the States (just a British pension) and my income isn't that high, I haven't been actually paying any taxes, etc.

Wonder if that will count against me?
 

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Here it is. I really wouldn't worry about integration beyond passing the language requirements, having a demonstrable income in France and being prepared to answers questions on this.

Thank you for the link, pyat.

If they did ask me about Johnny Hallyday, I'd be in with a chance!
 

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As I'm retired I don't have any cotisations. And as my income is mainly from the States (just a British pension) and my income isn't that high, I haven't been actually paying any taxes, etc.

Wonder if that will count against me?
I like to think France will appreciate us retirees, who haven't made any demands on the French state but are ready to spend our juicy pension funds in their country 😁
 

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As I'm retired I don't have any cotisations. And as my income is mainly from the States (just a British pension) and my income isn't that high, I haven't been actually paying any taxes, etc.

Wonder if that will count against me?
Absolutely not! What counts is that you are filing your declarations and have the Avis d'imposition to prove it. As long as you are enrolled in CPAM you should be set to go. That's what they mean by "integrated." Has nothing to do with spending money or where your funds come from. (Such a refreshing attitude, actually.)
 

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When we decided, finally (in 2018), to apply for citizenship, my wife and I began to follow several Facebook groups (both anglophone & francophone) for people applying for nationality.
Many people posted their experiences of the interview. Some were asked a vast string of questions about France and French life (not just those in the Livret, but also naming French towns and cities, food dishes, and all kinds of other stuff, sometimes well North of 50 questions). Others, like me, were asked almost nothing (with zero questions about history, civics, etc.), and my wife, whose interview was a week after mine (with the same interviewer) even less.
I don't know how they decide, and it surely varies by interviewer and by Préfecture, but I think that the interviewers find it quite easy to divine whether you are integrated or not during the chatty part of the interview while you are going through all the documentation required in the dossier.
In our case, perhaps the fact that one of my ancestors acquired French nationality in the 1770s and became a general in the French army, plus the fact that I had been elected President of a departmental sport organization,demonstrating integration, may have been of some significance.
The interviewers, with very few exceptions, are there to help you (if you are very unlucky, you might encounter a French version of Priti Patel) and if you avoid going there and admitting (through a translator) to having more than one wife living in the Maghreb, and meet all the stated requirements, you will be fine.
It is true that many, many dossiers are thrown out (about 1/3 in our Region), but that is because they have not been correctly completed. At or after interview, the number of rejections is tiny.
Anyway, we will shortly be celebrating our first anniversary of being French.
 

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Interesting reading.

As an aside, here in Belgium, integration into the community means proving that you have in fact done just that. My wife got Belgian nationality and the proof of integration came in the form of attestations we got from the local Comité des Fêtes, the school where we sent our daughter, the Comité des Parents (from said school) and a letter from a neighbour who happens to be a village councillor.
 
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